Scripture reading – Psalm 3; Psalm 4
Today’s Scripture reading is Psalm 3 and Psalm 4; however, this devotional will focus on spiritual lessons evidenced in Psalm 3. As you will see, Psalm 3 is instructive in a righteous response when you find yourself at your end. (The words contained in brackets are the amplifications of this author.)
Our previous Bible studies have considered the tragic events that shadowed David’s adultery and the subsequent murder of Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband (2 Samuel 11-14). Following his father’s sins, Amnon, David’s eldest son, tragically violated Absalom’s sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13:11-16). David did not address Amnon’s sin when he heard of the evil he had committed (2 Samuel 13:21). The king’s failure incensed and emboldened Absalom to avenge his sister’s rape. Two years later, Absalom deceived his brother Amnon and directed his murder (2 Samuel 13:23, 29)
Because he feared reprisal, Absalom fled Israel and lived in exile for three years (2 Samuel 13:34). Only when pressed did the king invite his son to return to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 14:21). Nevertheless, David refused to receive Absalom, which provoked him to bitterness (2 Samuel 14:24). Eventually, he led an insurrection against his father, the king (2 Samuel 15).
What was David feeling and thinking during this time of shame and sorrow?
The answer to that question is recorded in Psalm 3. Here, David lays bare his heart in a psalm titled, “A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.”
The Complaint of a Grief-stricken, Heartbroken Father (Psalm 3:1-2)
Psalm 3:1-2 – “LORD [Yahweh; Jehovah; Self-existent, Eternal God], how are they increased [multiplied] that trouble [cause distress; afflict] me! many are they that rise up [stand up as a foe] against me.
2 Many there be which say [speak; tell] of my soul [life; person; being], There is no help [deliverer] for him in God. Selah.
David found himself pressed upon by his enemies, particularly his son Absalom (Psalm 3:1). The loneliness of the king and his desperate cry to the LORD will stir the hearts of leaders and parents who have suffered the blow and sorrow of betrayal. The king’s flight from Jerusalem encouraged his enemies to deride him and say, “There is no help [deliverer] for him in God” (Psalm 3:2b).
David’s Confidence in the LORD (Psalm 3:3)
Psalm 3:3 – 3 But thou, O LORD [Yahweh; Jehovah; Self-existent, Eternal God], art a shield [buckler; defense] for me; my glory [honor; splendor], and the lifter up [exaltation; to move in a higher direction] of mine head.
David took solace in the character and promises of the LORD (Psalm 3:3). His reflections on the nature of God strengthened his soul. He remembered the LORD was his “shield,” defender, and the sovereign of creation. Though driven from his throne by enemies, David was confident God would exact vengeance and justice would prevail. Alone, afraid, and humiliated, but not defeated, David was sure the LORD saw his plight and heard his cry.
David’s Reflections on the LORD’s Goodness (Psalm 3:4-5)
Psalm 3:4 – “I cried [called out] unto the LORD [Yahweh; Jehovah; Self-existent, Eternal God] with my voice, and he heard [answered; responded; replied] me out of his holy [sanctuary; sacred place] hill. Selah [i.e., to pause—most likely an instruction to musicians].”
The king summed up his trust and faith when he wrote, “He heard me out of His holy hill” (Psalm 3:4b).
It may be difficult for some to grasp how a rebel like Absalom could be the son of David, a man after the heart of God (1 Samuel 13:14). Sadly, the heartache borne by the king is all too familiar to parents of sons and daughters who reject the LORD. Despite parents’ love, sacrifices, and the spiritual lessons engrained in their children from their youth, many parents face their own Absalom.
Some give rein to their lusts and embrace the lies of the world. Prodigal sons and daughters heap indescribable heartache and sorrows on their parents (Luke 15:11-21). Yet, for David, all was not lost; when he looked past his woes and reflected on the LORD, his hope was renewed. Having found solace in the LORD, David wrote:
Psalm 3:5 – “I laid me down [took rest] and slept [i.e., long sleep; fell asleep]; I awaked [i.e., arise]; for the LORD [Yahweh; Jehovah; Self-existent, Eternal God] sustained [to prop; braced; held up] me.
Precious, sweet sleep comes to believers who find solace in the LORD. Perhaps David’s prayer inspired the childhood prayer many parents have taught their children: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, If I shall die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take, Amen.”
Awaking from a much-needed sleep, David was refreshed. His circumstances had not changed, but he was confident the LORD was with him and would sustain him (Psalm 3:5b).
David’s Victory Over Fear (Psalm 3:6-7)
Psalm 3:6-7 – I will not be afraid [fear; tremble; frightened] of ten thousands of people, that have set themselvesagainst me round about [on every side].
7 Arise [Rise; stand up], O LORD; save [deliver; help; rescue; avenge] me, O my God [Elohim; Mighty God]: for thou hast smitten [slain; beaten] all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken [shattered; crushed] the teeth of the ungodly [wicked].
David’s Hope in the LORD (Psalm 3:8)
Betrayed by his son and threatened by adversaries who desired to humiliate and destroy him, David asserted his confidence and declared:
Psalm 3:8 – Salvation [help; deliverance] belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing [prosperity; generosity] is upon thy people [tribe; flock]. Selah [pause].”
Closing thoughts –
We live in a world that has imparted to its children a spirit of entitlement that is deluded and tragic. Many Generation X’ers (born 1965-1980), Millenniums (Born 1981-1996), and Generation Z’s (born 1997-2010) are like Absalom—self-absorbed, self-consumed, and filled with pride (Romans 1:30-31). They are consumed with a delusion of rights and privileges they have not earned nor deserve. They are, sadly, the epitome of a nation that has denied the LORD. They boast of much, demand everything, and are a grief to their parents.
Some fathers and mothers reading this devotional identify with David’s sorrows and circumstances. It is one thing to face an enemy but another when that enemy is your son or daughter. I do not know your struggles; however, if you know the LORD, you can be confident that He is with you and that He hears and answers prayer!
The LORD Jehovah, Eternal, Self-Existent, and Mighty God is on your side! Cry to the LORD, then lay down and sleep, confident He will protect and sustain you (Psalm 3:4-5).
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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